Grass Valley City Council passes first reading of massage service regulation |

Grass Valley City Council passes first reading of massage service regulation

Teresa Yinmeng Liu
Staff Writer
Grass Valley Police Officer Evan Butler, the recipient of the employee of the year award, stands with his colleagues at the Council Chambers before the Tuesday City Council meeting begins.
Teresa Yinmeng Liu/ |

The Grass Valley City Council voted 5-0 during a Tuesday meeting to tighten control over massage businesses in town.

The new ordinance establishes a permitting process for local massage therapists to provide services in Grass Valley.

Grass Valley Police Lt. Steve Johnson said the police department has received numerous complaints in the past few years about three to four establishments that had skill and sanitation issues, as well as possible human trafficking practices.

“The goal is always to encourage the legitimate massage therapy businesses, but to deter those who use the guise of massage therapy as a cover for prostitution and human trafficking,” said Johnson.

California Senate Bill 731 allows massage therapists who are certified by the California Massage Therapy Council to practice anywhere in the state without a local permit or authorization. This leads to a rise in illicit sex businesses that operate under the guise of massage establishments, authorities said.

The ordinance complies with the provision of Assembly Bill 1147. The legislation became effective on Jan. 1, 2015 and restores some local control by allowing municipalities to regulate the massage industry through land use ordinances, business licensing, or health and safety requirements.

AB 1147 also restructured the CAMTC board. Many members of the board are now representatives from agencies such as the League of California Cities, California Police Chiefs Association, and California Association of Counties.

According to Johnson, there are currently 46 licenses in town issued to massage businesses and therapists.

The police department held a meeting on Feb. 25 during which officers discussed the potential ordinance with 15 local massage therapists who came to the forum, Johnson said. The department was able to reach an agreement with most of those present.

In addition to being certified by the California Message Therapy Council, owners of massage businesses or therapists need to apply for an operator’s permit by submitting a written application to the chief of police along with an application fee.

All therapists will have until Dec. 31 to obtain the necessary certification.

Also during the Tuesday meeting, the Grass Valley police and fire departments recognized the services of several staff members selected by their colleagues as employees of 2015.

The police department volunteer of the year award went to William Drown, and the recipient of the employee of the year award was Officer Evan Butler.

Firefighter Chris Oliver received the Firefighter of the Year award.

Firefighter Darrin Hutchins, who was recently promoted to deputy marshal for the Grass Valley Fire Department, was officially welcomed to his new position through a badge-pinning ceremony. New Firefighter Kevin Baer was also introduced to the force during the same ceremony.

To view a copy of the proposed ordinance pertaining to massage services regulation, visit:

To contact Staff Writer Teresa Yinmeng Liu, please call 530-477-4236, or email

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